How to Talk So Your Customers Listen

There’s nothing more important in business than communication. Half of what you do is creating a product (or service) and the logistics that underlie its supply, and the other half is telling people about it so they can come and give you their money for some. But communication is not as simple as just relating the facts. The secret of marketing is understanding your customers, so you can talk in the language they find most persuasive. Today we’re taking a look at how you can talk so your customers listen.


You have to start from a basis of facts and research. You can’t optimise your communication and marketing strategy for your customers if you don’t have data about who they are, where they are and perhaps most crucially, what they value. Start with market research – you’ll likely have to work with an outside agency to acquire the reach and expertise necessary for useful insight – to identify who your customers are as a block, then drill down into it. Identify different segments with different characteristics – groups with different priorities, social backgrounds, spending power and needs. You can use these segments to construct specific adverts tailored to specific customer groups within your larger market.

Your competitor strategy has a role to play here too. Look at your competitors’ adverts – who are they talking to? Who are they ignoring? What space does that leave for you to cultivate a unique audience?

War game scenario planning can help here, if you have the resources. This is a specialist service that consultants can help with that predicts how your competitors will react in different scenarios, allowing you to identify that space for you to develop your voice.


As much as the content of your ads, where you place them needs to be a priority. You need to meet your customers where they are – place adverts on the social networks they use, in the papers they read, to even go as granular as placing posters on the routes they commute on. If you’re trying to reach people in their early twenties with adverts for a new product, then a campaign split between Facebook and the Daily Telegraph just isn’t going to reach a substantial audience for you, however good the product is and however good the ads are.

Reinforcing Your Brand

One of the most important things you can do to communicate with your customers effectively is to find out who they think you are and lean into those characteristics. Your brand, for all the work you do to build it, is only completely constructed inside the customer’s mind. You need to do your research to find out how your brand building work has gone, and what qualities your customers ascribe to you. You can then tailor your ads to lean into those qualities and provide a persuasive, seamless experience from advert to storefront that doesn’t challenge your customer’s perceptions.

For example, if you want to emphasise the value of your proposition, but your customers perceive you as a luxury brand, you can’t talk about how cheap and cheerful your products are without telling them they’re wrong about you! Instead you can emphasise the quality of the product compared with the price, extras like lifetime warranties, or suggesting there’s an exclusive nature to any discounts that allows you to drop price while preserving the mystique of the brand.